2022 marked another rise in new vehicle sales, bringing the overall tally back up to pre-pandemic levels.

The Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has published its complete new vehicle sales data for 2022 which reveals that Australia’s new car market has grown by 3.0 percent, marking its best result since 2018.

A total of 1,081,429 new vehicles were sold in Australia during a year surrounded by highly-publicised supply shortages driven by the semiconductor shortage that kicked off at the tail-end of 2020. Increased raw material costs and supply shortages also affected a number of manufacturers.

However, that didn’t stop stalwart Toyota from posting its best Australian sales tally in 14 years (231,050 units with a 21.4 percent market share), with its long wait-list issues being driven by demand while others are struggling for supply. Mazda remained in second place with an 8.9 percent market share, while Kia jumped from fifth to a best-ever third with 7.2 percent of the total market captured. Mitsubishi and Hyundai round out the top five.

Despite a two-year waiting list for the EV6 and a drop in Cerato sales, Kia captured a best-ever third-overall finish spearheaded by its all-new Sportage.

As has been the trend for several years now, SUV sales continued to grow during 2022, posting an 8.1% year-to-date increase and accounting for 53.1 percent of all new cars sold – an increase of 2.5 percent.

Light commercial vehicles (utes and vans) also grew in popularity with a slight 1.2 percent increase following 2021’s 23.2 percent boom in popularity.

But, as you’d also expect, the declining popularity of passenger cars has taken another big hit during 2022, with total sales falling 8.4 percent and their market share falling to just 18.8 percent, a 2.1 percent drop.

SUVs

As has become somewhat of a tradition now, the Toyota RAV4 has continued its dominance of the SUV market despite a slight 2.5 percent drop in sales – again, one likely chalked up to a long wait-list driven by demand rather than supply.

The Mazda CX-5 retained its second-placed standing in the segment and managed a jump on the overall market, and the Toyota Prado once again held onto third place.

Once again, the Toyota RAV4 topped all SUV sales with the Mazda CX-5 in second-place, despite RAV4 sales dropping by around 3000 units and CX-5 sales increasing by roughly the same amount. The MG ZS and Toyota Prado swapped places to third and fourth respectively.

In fifth place, the place of the ageing Mitsubishi ASX has been taken by its all-new Outlander sibling, which just managed to squeeze out another all-new competitor, the latest Kia Sportage which leapfrogged its place into being the brand’s best-selling model.

Top five best-selling SUVs in Australia during 2022:

  1. Toyota RAV4 – 34,845
  2. Mazda CX-5 – 27,062
  3. MG ZS – 22,466
  4. Toyota Prado – 21,102
  5. Mitsubishi Outlander – 19,546

Passenger vehicles

The overall decline in passenger vehicle sales is clearly seen when looking at the sales of last year’s top three segment sellers, with the Toyota Corolla’s sales dropping 12.1 percent, the Hyundai i30’s 17.2 percent, and the Kia Cerato falling to fourth place after a 31.8 percent drop in sales.

The ultra-affordable MG 3 managed to buck the trend and jump from fifth to third with a 17.4 percent increase in sales, jumping to 16,168 total units.

Finally, the Tesla Model 3 rounds out the segment’s top five, marking the first time an electric vehicle has managed to slide into its segment’s overall top five sellers. It’s worth noting that 2022 is the first full year that Tesla has submitted sales data to the FCAI.

Top five best-selling passenger vehicles in Australia during 2022:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 25,284
  2. Hyundai i30 – 21,166
  3. MG 3 – 16,168
  4. Kia Cerato – 12,354
  5. Tesla Model 3 – 10,877

Light commercial vehicles

Toyota claims a third straight market-wide hatrick, with the ever-popular HiLux topping the LCV segment for the seventh year in a row. The Ford Ranger managed to hold onto second place, but the race was nowhere near as close as last year. While just 2522 units split the two in 2021, HiLux sales grew 22.0 percent and Ranger sales dropped 5.6 percent despite the arrival of an all-new model, seeing the two separated by 16,912 units.

The Mitsubishi Triton managed to jump up into third place with a big 42.7 percent jump in sales, while the Isuzu D-Max – which has just received its 2023 model year update – dropped to fourth after sales fell slightly. Rounding out the top five once again is the Mazda BT-50, although its sales fell by a substantial 17.4 percent. Curiously, the LandCruiser 70 Series pickup managed to outsell the Nissan Navara for sixth place.

Among 4×2 utes, the HiLux also reigned supreme with a 51.0% share of sales, while the D-Max sat in second with a 12.6 percent share.

The Toyota HiAce showed yet another area of dominance for the brand, topping all van sales with 8748 units. The new Hyundai Staria Load came second, just pipping the LDV G10 at the post with 3291 units versus 3159 for the latter.

Top five best-selling light commercial vehicles in Australia during 2022:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 64,391
  2. Ford Ranger – 47,479
  3. Mitsubishi Triton – 27,436
  4. Isuzu D-Max – 24,336
  5. Mazda BT-50 – 12,937

The year’s wildcards: Petrol vehicle sales are officially in decline, while EV sales have gone to the moon (on paper)

Yes, that is indeed the case – in a year of notable overall sales increases, the sales of petrol vehicles fell 5.0 percent. Were this a more sensationalist publication, that would perhaps be sold as ‘the beginning of the end’, but petrol cars did still account for 51.0 percent of all new vehicles sold at 551,556 units.

However, the reason this is so notable is because of the clear increases in the popularity of alternative propulsion types. While diesel saw a merely marginal rise of 4.2 percent due to it being the fuel of choice for utes, hybrid vehicle sales rose 16.1 percent and plug-in hybrid sales saw a 76.1 percent increase.

But nothing rose as drastically as electric vehicle sales, with last years 191.1 percent YTD rise being eclipsed by a 548.9 percent boom in popularity this year – and yes, you read that correctly. As drastic as that sounds, EVs still only accounted for 3.1 percent of all new vehicles sold at 33,410 units.

Do consider, though, that Tesla has only just recently taken to reporting its sales figures to the FCAI which explains some of the ridiculousness of that on-paper growth figure – especially given the Model 3 was very popular before it managed to sneak into its segment’s top-five this year. Regardless, the numbers all support a change in attitude towards electrification.

The Polestar 2 is just one of many new electric vehicles to hit the market in 2022 amid the EV sales boom.

All together now…

Yet again, the top end of the market looks familiar to that in years past, with the Toyota HiLux retaining the crown as Australia’s best selling vehicle of 2022 and the Ford Ranger and Toyota RAV4 holding onto second and third in the new car market respectively.

However, the Mitsubishi Triton was one of the biggest movers and shakers in its jump from 11th to fourth, while sales of the Corolla, LandCruiser, i30, and Cerato all fell in standing rather noticeably.

Three models managed to break into 2022’s top 20 – the Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-30, and Toyota Kluger – with them knocking out the Nissan Navara, Mazda3, and recently superseded Nissan X-Trail.

What is undoubtedly a good sign for automakers, however, are the overall sales figures finally rising to pre-pandemic levels.

Looking ahead to the coming year, FCAI chief executive Tony Weber says that “while 2022 [was] a year of resilience and recovery, 2023 is shaping up as one of the most significant in recent history, particularly in terms of the development of policies that set the direction for the future decarbonisation of the light vehicle fleet.”

Top 20 best-selling cars in Australia in 2022:

  1. Toyota HiLux – 64,391 (↑ 22.0%, = 1st)
  2. Ford Ranger – 47,479 (↓ 5.6%, = 2nd)
  3. Toyota RAV4 – 34,845 (↓ 2.5%, = 3rd)
  4. Mitsubishi Triton – 27,463 (↑ 42.7%, ↑ 11th)
  5. Mazda CX-5 – 27,062 (↑ 8.4%, ↑ 8th)
  6. Toyota Corolla – 25,248 (↓ 12.1%, ↓ 3rd)
  7. Toyota LandCruiser (all body styles) – 24,542 (↓ 7.9%, ↓ 5th)
  8. Isuzu D-Max – 24,336 (↓ 3.1%, ↓ 7th)
  9. MG ZS – 22,466 (↑ 21.9%, ↑ 14th)
  10. Hyundai i30 – 21,166 (↓ 17.2%, ↓ 6th)
  11. Toyota Prado – 21,102 (↓ 0.9%, ↓ 9th)
  12. Mitsubishi Outlander – 19,546 (↑ 34.1%, ↑ 16th)
  13. Kia Sportage – 18,792 (↑ 136.4%, ↑ 33rd)
  14. Hyundai Tucson – 17,870 (↑ 15.9%, ↑ 17th)
  15. MG 3 – 16,168 (↑ 17.4%, ↑ 20th)
  16. Mazda CX-30 – 13,891 (↑ 4.4%, ↑ 21st)
  17. Mazda BT-50 – 12,937 (↓ 17.4%, ↓ 13th)
  18. Mitsubishi ASX – 12,753 (↓ 13.6%, ↓ 15th)
  19. Toyota Kluger – 12,562 (↑ 34.8%, ↑ 30th)
  20. Kia Cerato – 12,354 (↓ 31.8%, ↓ 12th)
Patrick Jackson
Share this article: